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French economy returns to growth in Q3, but lacklustre

French economy returns to growth in Q3, but lacklustre
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French economic growth continues in stop-start mode.

Gross domestic product (GDP) increased by just 0.2 percent in the period from July to September. It had shrunk 0.1 percent in the previous quarter.

Consumer spending was again weak. The traditional mainstay of the French economy failed to register any growth for the second straight quarter.

Companies replenishing their inventories drove growth, adding 0.6 points to national output. But trade shaved 0.5 points off GDP, as imports rose much faster than exports.

The Economy and Finance Minister Michel Sapin acknowledged that it will be “difficult” to achieve the official target of 1.5 percent growth this year on which France has based its budget projections.

With first-quarter growth revised down to show a 0.6 percent increase, GDP growth for the first nine months of the year is 1.1 percent.

The lacklustre expansion further undermines President Francois Hollande’s hopes for a second term.